Friday, July 26, 2013

It's Hard To Be A Leader From Your Living Room

"The megachurch is the only organization that is actually working in our society." For someone with zero interest in organized religion, I sure do love a good church. Not just for the gorgeous architecture, positive music, joyful energy and strong community, but also because of the economic undercurrent. The church has the world’s best business model. Join us or burn in hell. That's one heck of a sales pitch. Business students should tour congregations as part of their curriculum. Companies should pay close attention to how strategically churches are run. From hospitality to membership to marketing to leadership, there's a mountain of wisdom to glean from religion institutions. God may not exist, but the church's profits certainly do. 

"It's hard to be a leader from your living room." One of the major drawbacks of being a freelancer is, there are limited leadership opportunities. Video conferencing and social media and networking events are fine for connecting, but to effectively inspire, mentor, teach and encourage others, we need consistent, face to face interaction. We need a shared space where feedback and energy and communication can flow in both directions. We need the chance to understand and develop the self in the context of other people. Without that level of humanity, it's not really leadership. Without other bodies in the room, it's more like winking in the dark.

"People care way more about fake people." Going cold turkey on television is one of the best life decisions I've ever made. I'm happier, more productive, more active, more relaxed and a hundred bucks a month richer. No regrets. However, this choice creates few problems. First, television is the best it's ever been right now. The shows are smarter, the actors are better, the effects are cooler, and the media for watching them are cheaper and more accessible. I'm totally missing out. Second, it's impossible to have a conversation with another human being without discussing television. I swear, that's all people talk about. Not to mention, you have to sit through the goddamn sales pitch of why their show is the one show you should watch, and that if you and your wife have a open weekend, you might consider staying in and spending seventeen hours glued to the flatscreen. The third problem is, when people discover you don't watch television, they're not impressed like they used to be. Ten years ago, it was unheard of. Five years ago, it was admirable. Today, it makes you sound like an antisocial douchebag. Whatever. I still think there a thousand more meaningful uses of my time. Like listening to a podcast with filmmaker Joss Wheadon

"You can't sit back and wait for people to be friends with you." After a certain age, making new friends is hard. The working world isn't like college. We don't have the luxury of proximity, where there's a thousand people around every corner. And we don't have the benefit of the calendar, where there's a hundred organized activities every day. People get busy with adult pursuits like career, community, marriage, kids and the like. Which means we have to work extra hard to create and nurture new relationships. Since we don't have a shared history with people, we literally have to date our friends. And if that means making mix tapes for each other, sending goofy emails to each other and being proactive about securing time slots for hanging out with each toher, so be it. I'd rather flirt with another man than have nobody to go to lunch with. We can't be a bystander in our friendships.